File Pic: Ashok Malhotra (TOI Photo)

NEW DELHI: In a bizarre move, the Indian Cricketers’ Association (ICA) chairman Ashok Malhotra has said that the fate of domestic cricketers — something very close to the heart of BCCI president Sourav Ganguly — doesn’t matter to him or the ICA and he is only concerned about the demands made to the board by them two days before the all-important Apex Council meeting.
In a video — accessed by IANS — sent by the chairman to some ICA members, Malhotra says that while there are a lot of things on BCCI’s agenda ahead of the Apex Council meeting, he is only worried about the requirements of the ICA.
“I know the BCCI has got a lot of things on their agenda like Bihar Cricket Association, they are talking about domestic cricket, they are talking about whole lot of things, I as an ICA president or ICA as a whole we are not really concerned about it, we are more concerned of what we have asked for, and that is the duty of Apex Council to deliver,” he said.
Surprised by the turn of events, a BCCI official said that it was surprising to say the least considering that the fate of domestic cricketers is not only close to the BCCI president’s heart, but should be a priority for everyone attached to Indian cricket.
“It is sad to listen to the words of the ICA chairman who is also speaking on behalf of the ICA in the video that has been circulated. How can domestic cricket not be a topic of concern for anyone connected with the game of cricket? It is shocking to be honest. I mean I understand that you want money but the priority for everyone has to be domestic cricket,” he told IANS.
With Malhotra also saying that the fate of Bihar cricket doesn’t concern him, Cricket Association of Bihar secretary Aditya Verma said that coming from a stalwart like the ICA chairman, it is unexpected. He went to the extent of asking Malhotra to resign.
“He must also know that the BCCI would be aware of his demands, but they also need to give priority to its own issues. BCCI surely will consider his demands taking into account its financial condition. He should immediately take back his statement and issue an apology and resign from his position of being chairman as his statements have hurt the domestic cricketers. He must not forget that he has also been a domestic cricket player in the past and due to that only he has reached this position.
“As for Bihar cricket, we will keep requesting for justice and we are sure that the current dispensation will look into our problems. But this statement against domestic cricket is unacceptable,” he said.

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